BANGOR, Maine — A Maine superior court justice on Tuesday found the former priest at St. George Greek Orthodox Church guilty on four counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Adam Metropoulos, 52, of Bangor took the stand Tuesday and denied sexually assaulting an altar server in 2006 and 2007 when the boy was 15.
He told Superior Court Justice Ann Murray on the second day of his jury-waived trial that he never had sex with the now 23-year-old man. Metropoulos admitted that he touched the victim’s genitals over his pajamas once.
The grown altar server, who now lives in Vermont, testified Monday that Metropoulos repeatedly sexually assaulted him when he was 15. The man is not being identified by the Bangor Daily News because he is the victim of a sex crime.
In finding Metropoulos guilty, Murray said that she found the victim’s testimony more credible than the defendant’s.
The defendant did not react to the verdict.
The victim was not in the courtroom, but was in the courthouse when the verdict was announced. His siblings quietly wept at the back of the courtroom when Murray announced her decision.
“[The victim] had no motive to lie about what happened to him,” Michael Roberts, deputy district attorney for Penobscot County, said in his closing argument. “He came forward to police because he wanted to put this behind him.”
Metropoulos’s attorney, Marvin Glazier of Bangor, told Murray in his closing statement that there was reasonable doubt in the conflicting testimony and Murray should find his client not guilty. The defense attorney said the victim did not remember enough details about what had happened and continued to spend time with Metropoulos after he said the abuse ended when he turned 16.
“Why would he live at the Metropoulos house while he was attending technical college if he had been abused by him?” Glazier asked.
The defense attorney declined to comment after the verdict.
“This is a victory for the victim given what he went through and the time he had to wait to talk about what happened,” Roberts said at an impromptu news conference after the trial. “The church itself was also a victim here.”
Roberts said that Metropoulos’ just sleeping in the same bed with the altar server was a violation of diocesan policy.
Before the trial began Monday, Metropoulos pleaded guilty to one count each of possession of sexually explicit materials, a felony, and violation of privacy, a misdemeanor.
By pleading guilty, Metropoulos admitted that he had sexually explicit photos of prepubescent children on his computers. He also admitted to surreptitiously photographing a woman taking a shower in his bathroom a few days before his Sept. 15 arrest.
There is no plea deal on the charges, according to Roberts.
The victim told the judge Monday that because his family lived in Hancock County, he often spent the night at the rectory located on Fourteenth Street in Bangor. He said the assaults most often took place during Lent because there are additional services in the Orthodox church.
Metropoulos on Tuesday testified that altar servers often spent the night at his home and he often slept with the boys, including the victim. The former priest said that he believed the victim was unaware Metropoulos had touched him because “he never mentioned it.”
The defendant testified that when he told police that he had “a predilection toward children,” he was talking about young girls, not boys.
The child pornography found on Metropoulos’ computer was made up of photos of young girls, Roberts said Monday.
Metropoulos looked different Monday and Tuesday than he did at previous court proceedings. His hair is now shorter and he wore new or different glasses. He also had shaved his graying goatee.
He has been held at the Penobscot County Jail since his arrest, unable to post bail of $50,000 cash or $100,000 surety. Roberts said outside the courthouse after Metropoulos’ first court appearance in September that the high bail was warranted, in part, because of the suspended priest’s 1983 conviction on a sex charge in Michigan when he was 19.
Metropoulos faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the abuse charges. Due to the sex abuse convictions, he will be required to register as a sex offender for life.
He faces the same penalties on the possession of child pornography charges, a Class C crime, and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 on the violation of privacy charge, a Class D crime.
The prosecutor said after the verdict that he would seek consecutive sentences for the separate acts for which Metropoulos was convicted.
“I offered him a total of 10 years with all but four suspended, and he turned that down,” Roberts said. “I anticipate recommending something similar.”
A sentencing date has not been set. Roberts said after the trial that the victim would not appear at the sentencing but would send the judge a written impact statement.
The time Metropoulos has been held awaiting trial would be applied to his sentence.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.